So you want to lead a Winning Team?

In the first of 3 connected articles, our Chartered Psychologist Dr. Fiona Beddoes-Jones explores how to create, develop and lead exceptional teams.

So you want to lead a winning team?

These are the 5 things you need to know:

Does everyone want to lead a winning team?

Surprisingly, the answer is no. For some people, leading a team that’s ‘good enough’ is a perfectly reasonable and acceptable way to live their lives. If ‘good enough’ isn’t good enough for you however, read on. There are some critical things you need to know about creating, developing and leading exceptional teams. All of these things are critically important. Thinking that you can skimp on, or ignore, any one of them is a mistake as any one of them could derail your plans and achievement.

Pick the right people for your team.

This will mean different things to different people. For example, a highly competitive Sales Director might think that the right people for their team are the most competitive or highly performing people. They would be wrong. Viewed from a psychological perspective, when we’re exploring exceptionally performing teams, the right people share certain characteristics and attitudes which means that they will significantly contribute to the successful performance of any team.

  • They are collaborative and supportive within the team, i. e. they are not competitive with each other and they don’t empire build.
  • They have a positive ‘can do’, future focused attitude and always think the best of their colleagues.
  • They trust each other, they respect each other and they ‘have each other’s backs’.
  • They’re individually resilient and collectively as a team they are more so.
  • Their thinking skills complement each other, with everyone able to work to their strengths.

“If you’re not an authentic leader, and a role model to others, how can you expect your team to show up as their best selves? ”

Your (authentic) leadership is critical.

Whatever you do, you give your team permission to do. So you really do need to lead by example. Authentic leaders show up as their best selves and do the right things because they are the right things to do, not for any personal gain. As a leader, if you don’t tell the truth or you withhold information, your team will do the same to you. If you get stressed out and close down or stop communicating effectively, you can expect your team members to start doing the same. There are many ways to be an authentic leader; you need to find the way to achieve your full potential with your teams whilst also enabling them to reach their potential.

There are going to be investment costs, and you need to be prepared to pay them.

If you aren’t prepared to invest in your team and yourself, you might as well stop reading now. These investment costs aren’t just financial, they are also investments of time, energy, effort, intellect and support. Ultimately, if you really are serious about developing high performing, exceptional teams, you need to be prepared to commit to all of these investment costs.

It’s not easy.

If it were, every leader would lead exceptional teams. But they don’t. High performing, exceptional teams are rare. That’s why we notice them.

Find the right person or consultancy to help you.

To build a house you use an architect. To redesign your garden you may use a landscape gardener. Experts and specialists are there to help you and support you in achieving your goals and objectives more quickly and more effectively. They are also worth the investment cost.

“A wise leader recognises the expertise of others and uses it” 

Here’s why.

  1. If you don’t pick the right people, they won’t bond and support each other. They won’t share their best selves with the team. They won’t have the emotional safety within the team to be creative and innovative, to solve problems effectively (without creating future problems), and to take risks. Worst case scenario they will either compete with each other or they will withdraw and not contribute or support each other. Any of these will ultimately tear them apart and the best of them will vote with their feet and leave you, however good a leader you might think that you are.
  2. If you’re not an authentic leader, and a role model to others, how can you expect your team to show up as their best selves? Loyalty and respect, both as a leader and as a team member, need to be earned and can be lost very easily. One lie or mistruth will do it.
  3. If you’re you are not prepared to pay the investment costs you’re never going to create or develop an exceptional, winning team. It’s that simple. There are no shortcuts and as the leader, the buck stops with you.
  4. Unless you recognise that the development process can be difficult and complicated,
    you might not commit fully to it or you might become disheartened by the time it takes. The temptation is to give up and/or possibly change the team members. Return to point 1. If this is the case.
  5. If you don’t use a specialist and try to do it all yourself you might be successful given time and a few false starts. A wise leader recognises the expertise of others and uses it. Leadership and team development specialists like myself exist because we love what we do and we’re very good at it. We are there to support you. So call us. You will be glad you did.
© 2023 Libra Europe Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Website design and build by Grey Matter | web design sheffield